Got that Friday feeling yet? You know I don’t think I’ve ever had a Friday feeling. Even when I watched the movie Friday on a Friday night… I got nothing!

But enough about my lack of enthusiasm over the week’s end, I’m sure you’re happy to see it. And what better way to unwind than to check out what’s been going on in Movieland over the past seven days…?

 

TEFLON JOHN

Though he’s had a long and interesting movie career, John Travolta is one of those actors who’s seemingly always on the “comeback” list. Every so often he emerges with a juicy role and commentators treat him like he’s returned from the wilderness, which isn’t entirely fair as anyone who’s been in this business for decades has their highs and lows.

His “comeback” first happened with Pulp Fiction and now he’s front and centre for another high profile release, Gotti. A biopic of notorious mobster John Gotti (known as the “Teflon Don”), it depicts his rise to the top of New York’s Gambino crime family and explores the relationship with his son (Spencer Lofranco), who is drawn into his father’s lifestyle.

Showcasing a flashback’y supporting cast of Kelly Preston and Stacy Keach, the carnage is released in December. Here’s the new trailer:

 

MARVEL-LOUS NEWS

Though you might not think a Spider-Man spinoff would get a welter of prestige casting, that’s just what’s happening with Marvel/Sony’s Venom project. I’m old enough to remember when the alien variation on Spidey’s costume first appeared in Secret Wars, but to date only one attempt has been made to portray the web slinger’s dark side on the big screen (Topher Grace in Spider-Man 3).

Tom Hardy was a surprisingly meaty choice to lead the standalone flick but now it’s been announced Michelle Williams will be joining him in an unspecified role. Her involvement, together with Riz Ahmed, launches the talent roster into the stratosphere and it’ll be exciting to see how the Ruben Fleischer-helmed adaptation pans out.

 

THE SANDMAN

Blade Runner 2049 director Denis Villeneuve is going to be shaking sand out of his boots for years at this rate. Not only is he in charge of epic sci-fi Dune, based around an alien desert, but he’s also wanted to line the lenses on Cleopatra, a lavish portrait of the Egyptian ruler – the production reportedly seeks Angelina Jolie for the title role.

Based on the book by Stacey Schiff, it’s yet another assignment that’s landed on Villenueve’s doormat following a lengthy development period. BR 2049 and Dune were also legendary in their gestation, not forgetting the infamous 1963 movie starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. That production nearly finished 20th Century Fox with its mammoth budget and off-set shenangians.

 

NAT WITH A BANG

There’s a touch of Villeneuve’s sci-fi drama Arrival about Annihilation, the forthcoming realization of Jeff VanderMeer‘s Southern Reach trilogy. A teaser has just been posted, starring Natalie Portman as a biologist following in the footsteps of her missing husband (Oscar Isaac). This leads her into some wild territory in an intriguing tale, co-starring Jennifer Jason Leigh.

Writing/directing is Alex Garland, whose impressive genre credits include Dredd and Ex Machina (also featuring Isaac). The film is out in February. Boldly go below…

 

 

 

HASTA LA VISTA, BATSY

Lastly a bit of blatant self-promotion, care of two iconic figures. Batman Day celebrated the caped crusader, so I wrote a feature about those who – unlike Ben Affleck (above) – were nearly, but not quite, the Dark Knight.

Meanwhile, as Linda Hamilton returns to the Terminator series after a quarter of a century gap, I offered these thoughts on the retooling of franchises.

 

I’ll be back with more movie news next week…

 

Sources: YouTube, Variety, Deadline,